This week the Murray-Darling Basin Authority identified the key wetlands and ecosystems which will be made a priority for water. Identification of these key environmental assets in the Murray-Darling Basin forms part of a new basin-wide plan to manage sustainably the surface and groundwater resources in the basin.
“The Authority would use the environmental water requirements of the Basin’s key ecosystem functions and 18 of the Basin’s key environmental assets (listed below) to provide vital information for modelling sustainable diversion limits (SDLs). The SDLs are the limits on the quantities of surface water and groundwater that can be taken from the Basin water resources taking into account environmental water requirements and a social and economic analysis,” Mike Taylor, the Murray-Darling Basin Authority Chair said.
“However, it is important to appreciate that how the overall environmental water requirements of the Basin will be managed is yet to be determined. This will be set out in the Environmental Watering Plan, as part of the proposed Basin Plan.”
Researchers from the Water Research Centre (WRC) in the Environment Institute work extensively within several of these iconic sites and ecosystems. Two of the Water Wednesday forums presented by the WRC have examined how these sites can be sustainably managed. Podcasts from these forum are available to download.
The first was called Sustaining the River Murray with less – ‘how science can enable water managers and business investment to manage sustainably with 30% less water’ the podcasts for this event can be accessed here.
The second Water Wednesday forum was ‘Managing the Murray icon sites: can engineering save the environment?’ the podcasts from this forum can be downloaded from here.
The 18 indicator sites are
- Lower Balonne River Floodplain System
- Narran Lakes
- Lower Goulburn River Floodplain
- Gwydir Wetlands
- Booligal Wetlands
- Great Cumbung Swamp
- Lachlan Swamp
- Lower Darling River System
- Macquarie Marshes
- Barmah-Millewa Forest
- The Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth,
- Riverland – Chowilla Floodplain (including Lindsay, Mulcra and Wallpolla Islands)
- Edward-Wakool River System
- Gunbower-Koondrook-Pericoota Forest
- Hattah Lakes
- Lower Murrumbidgee River Floodplain
- Mid Murrumbidgee River Wetlands
- Wimmera River Terminal Wetlands